‘Emily in Paris’ Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: Less Is More



At the end of Emily in Paris Season 2, our charming protagonist found herself at a bit of a crossroads. With Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) quitting Savoir to start her own firm and Madeline (Kate Walsh) forging ahead with a fresh slate of clients and coworkers, Emily (Lily Collins) was stuck between her clean and easy past and her wild and exciting future. The finale concluded with Emily calling up Sylvie and telling her that she’d made her choice, but in the Season 3 premiere, we see that decision isn’t exactly a neat, or easy, one.

As a quick refresher, Sylvie up and left from the Grégory Elliot Duprée show last season and pulled Luc (Bruno Gouery) and Julien (Samuel Arnold) with her, resigning from Savoir. While Emily was left with Madeline in the empty offices, Sylvie soon revealed she wanted Emily to join her new team. But when Season 2 ended, we still didn’t know Emily’s answer.

When we return for the latest season, Emily is literally trapped between Sylvie and Madeline in a tense opening on the Eiffel Tower, where her two bosses corner her and pressure her for answers. As the two women close in on her, Emily steps back one inch too far and goes tumbling from the tower…only to wake up in her own bed. Surprise! It was all a dream.

Back in IRL Paris, Emily heads out to grab a coffee before work with Mindy (Ashley Park), and bumps into none othet than Camille (Camille Razat), who is buying croissants for Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) because — and how could we forget — she betrayed her pact with Emily and not only got back with her ex, but also moved in with him … in the same building as Emily. Now that’s the real nightmare.

It seems karma has caught up with Camille, though, who shows up in some pretty tragic glasses, oblivious to the pain she’s caused Emily. She reveals that her mom was contacted by Sylvie, who wants the family’s champagne business as a client at her new firm. Which is messy, since they previously worked with Savoir, and Emily is once again caught in the middle.

When Emily says she’s working out the conflict, Camille is understanding, saying her family will stick with whatever firm Emily is working at, and adding, “I’m loyal to you.” Camille, you just proved that is not true! Making a pact to never be with a man then reconciling with him and moving in together? Doesn’t sound like loyalty to me!

After that awkward breakfast moment, Emily heads off to one of her two offices, meeting Madeline at Savoir. As she steels herself to tell her boss she’s quitting, Madeline pops out from behind the door, brandishing a bag of “black market Fritos” and wearing a truly outrageous orange-and-pink getup. Before Emily can get a word in, she’s ushered into a meeting with Gabriel and Antoine, after which Emily receives an unexpected phone call from her ex, Doug, who is now a global exec with McDonald’s, which is rich because he never even wanted to leave Chicago.

Turns out Doug isn’t calling to get back together, but has a business proposal for Emily: he wants her firm to market the McBaguette (Is this real? This can’t be real. Okay, I Googled it and this is, unfortunately, real). If you, too, are thinking, what is this girl doing bringing McDonald’s to Sylvie (after all, Big Macs are no luxury fragrance) Sylvie is one step ahead of you. After ending her call with Doug and strolling into the new office in Sylvie’s apartment, Emily pitches the McBaguette to the team.

Sylvie replies, “Emily, the only baguettes I’m interested in are diamonds.” Missed you, queen! And as if poor Emily needed more chaos, Gabriel and Antoine walk in for a client meeting. Looks like Emily isn’t the only one two-timing.

After the meeting, Antoine splits, leaving Emily with Gabriel, who asks Emily if she’s OK and wonders what she’s done with her hair (Gabriel, what have you done with your hair? They have you looking like Justin Bieber this season). He then takes her to lunch at McDonalds, where he adorably tries to pronounce “Hamburglar” and generously offers to set aside some tables at his restaurant for a going away party for Alfie, who’s heading back to London. Honestly, I don’t see Emily and Alfie lasting long, and if they do break up, I won’t be reaching for the tissues. Those two have zero chemistry. Please, Darren Star, I am begging you: bring in a convincing love interest for Emily this season.

Emily in Paris Season 3 Ep 1
Photo: Netflix

We then see Alfie for the first time since Season 2 in French class, where Emily is told to translate the existential phrase “not choosing is still choosing.” I truly never thought I’d write about Sartre in an Emily In Paris recap, but here we are.

Back at Sylvie’s firm the next day, Emily finally convinces Sylvie to meet with McDonalds, which would be great, if she didn’t have to schedule the client dinner the same night as Alfie’s party. Still, Emily insists she can juggle both events. Meanwhile, Luc is forced to return to enemy territory to retrieve his laptop at Savoir, where he accidentally left it before quitting to join Sylvie.

Of course stumbles across Madeline there, and manages to royally screw up his entire visit when he gets into a ridiculous back-and-forth with her about who Emily is working for. And it gets worse: Luc not only mentions McDonald’s, but also spills the details of that night’s client dinner and basically invites Madeline — who is rightfully annoyed — to crash it.

Later that night, we’re right back where we started, with Emily in the feathered cape from her dream on top of the Eiffel Tower. Sylvie, who is standing behind her lighting a cigarette, begins to ask how Madeline reacted to Emily’s resignation, but before she can answer, Sylvie very graciously offers herself up as Emily’s new mentor, showing a new, softer side of her we hadn’t yet seen. Their sweet moment is interrupted, though, by the arrival of the McDonald’s rep, and Emily promises to “turn on the chicago charm” as she heads to greet him.

Elsewhere in Paris, Alfie’s going-away party is kicking off, with Mindy, Camille and Gabriel joining him at the restaurant for goodbye drinks. Alfie, of course, notices that Emily is missing, but he’s quickly distracted by Antoine, who gifts him his favorite fragrance as a goodbye gift.

While the two are talking business, Mindy scuttles off to the corner to take a phone call from the manager of the venue where she and her band performed. It’s all good news and he says he loved her, but there’s a catch: the venue only wants Mindy to perform regularly, not her bandmates, spelling trouble for Mindy after her already-rocky relationship with Benoît, who finally found out about her past as a Chinese pop star.

The Mindy plotline feels a little thin, but it’s always fun to watch Park perform and treat us to that Broadway-level voice, so I’m rooting for Mindy to take this career boost and run with it. We’ll have to wait to see her decision though, because she stalls and asks for more time as her bandmates walk into the party.

Smooth jazz and Paris views mean we’re back at Emily’s McDonald’s dinner, and that Chicago charm is working wonders. The rep loves the “classy, retro” twist the team is putting on the McBaguette, but just as he tells them, “I’m lovin’ it,” Madeline storms in and introduces herself as the head of Savoir.

At this point, Madeline is basically a caricature of a hormonal pregnant woman as she launches into a rant about Sylvie and Emily, during which Sylvie realizes Emily has been pulling double duty at her two jobs.

This whole dinner is a huge mess, and it only gets worse. Of course, Madeline’s water breaks … on Sylvie’s shoes… and the McDonald’s client leaves. As Madeline is loaded into an ambulance, Emily offers to accompany her to the hospital, but she refuses. Left with Sylvie, Emily tries to explain herself, but she’s cut off when Sylvie, with a flick of her cig, fires her yet again. Fingers crossed this one doesn’t stick either, but I’m not too hopeful.

Emily in Paris Season 3 Ep 1
Photo: Netflix

Poor Emily can’t mourn too long, though, as she heads to Alfie’s party. Unfortunately, when she gets there, the chairs are being stacked and the crowd has thinned out. Emily spills out a stream of excuses at Alfie, who is walking out the door as she arrives, but he’s not hearing it. To him, Emily has already chosen work over their relationship, and when she can’t tell him when she’s going to visit London, he pulls out “that French saying from that Sartre guy,” telling her, “not choosing is still a choice,” as he hops into a waiting car and drives off into the Paris night.

This was a rough one on Emily. No job(s) and no boyfriend, all within the same night. We can only assume the next episode will treat our heroine a little kinder.